I recently gave birth to a beautiful baby boy on February 14, 2020. He is my second child, but this pregnancy and delivery were nothing like the first. Both my son and I almost died during the delivery, and physician negligence during the pregnancy could have left me paralyzed and without bladder and bowel control. We both survived, thanks in part to a nurse who happened to walk in just as my child fell out of me with his cord tangled around his neck, and a spinal surgeon who took my pain seriously and rushed me into emergency surgery a few days later.
Childbirth with Herniated Discs and Physician Negligence
Over the course of my pregnancy, I developed severe back pain. It had become so bad that by week 39, I could no longer walk on my own, needed assistance bathing, and couldn’t even I couldn’t reach my own bum to wipe anymore. After months of being ignored by my OBGYN and leaving her office sobbing because she wouldn’t take me seriously, I finally called her and made her induce me on Thursday, February 13th. I thought once my son was delivered, the back pain would be resolved. It did not. In fact, it got worse and I required emergency surgery to fix two herniated discs just days after I delivered my child, but I am getting ahead of myself.
I grabbed my bags and headed to the emergency room where they took me up to labor and delivery to get checked in. During this long process, it was difficult to even lay on my own bed without moaning in pain. They wouldn’t supply me with a walker because the hospital doesn’t supply them to patients without prescribing physical therapy even though they knew my back was bad and I was at risk for falling (I had started falling for two weeks because my back couldn’t support my own weight) and as a result, I had my father and brother bring me my walker from home so I could go to the bathroom on my own. The nurses up until that point just pushed me around on a stool with wheels. The doctor never really checked on me but the nurses were really sweet.
All day my son was kicking my belly so hard the monitors would move and the nurses would come back into the room and find his heartbeat again then would leave. They kept calling my son the perfect textbook baby because of his vitals and activity. I started on a pill that slowly induced me and then put on Pitocin when the pill wasn’t working quickly enough. Most of my first day was a blur filled with tons of pain and being moved from room to room. I saw my doctor maybe a total of twice and had no idea the crap show that was about to go down.
My best friend and my auntie showed up sometime during the day on February 14th, 2020, and gave me company and support. My son’s father wasn’t in the picture my entire pregnancy. He ran when he found out I was pregnant – kinda like Forrest Gump. I had family and friends take over loving me unconditionally through my hard times. My mother was right by my side the entire time; every single doctor appointment and every contraction. My mother was always there.
Throughout the day, my son would kick the monitors off because he was strong and active. The nurses would come in and find the heartbeat and leave. Like usual. After a while, the Pitocin started doing its job. The contractions became more and more intense. At this point, I had only seen my doctor twice and would see her only four times in over 24 hours. Most of the updates came from the nurses over the phone to my OBGYN. It seemed like when the OBGYN checked on me it was a burden to her because she had to induce me, and didn’t stick around to talk to me or really see how I was feeling. It was a wham bam thank you ma’am scenario.
By late afternoon the contractions were terrible and they moved me to my final room for delivery. They made me walk. I could barely get to my room using my walker. A grumpy nurse rolled her eyes at me. I know she was thinking I was being dramatic. By the time I got to my room I was in some of the worst pain I had felt in years. I could barely stand and it felt like breathing was a chore. The nurse told me to take a shower because I stunk and needed to clean up. I remember just standing in the shower praying. Hoping that my pain would stop in my spine sometime soon. My contractions shot through my spine, down my left leg, and into my foot. I was just thinking about how every contraction I go through would just be that much closer to seeing my sweet son’s face for the first time.
Something Was Wrong
After hours of breathing through my contractions and holding my composure, I started to panic. The pain became unbearable. I demanded an epidural, which took hours to get. I remember screaming how it felt like the baby was going to fall out. My friend and my aunt kept trying to tell the nurses. Nurses would tell me that since I didn’t feel like I had to poop or push I was just fine. I was finally given my epidural two hours later. The entire time I was repeating myself, “I’m serious it feels like he’s going to fall out!!” The doctor came in and checked me. I was dilated to 7, and then right after the OBGYN decided since it was Valentine’s Day she would go have dinner with her husband. The nurses had to tell her to stay. I could tell she was irritated.
Not too much longer after I received my epidural and the pain had almost completely subsided and they drained my bladder. I rolled to my side, a nurse slid a giant peanut-looking pillow/ball filled with air between my legs and I started to close my eyes. I didn’t sleep the entire time I was there. Not even thirty minutes go by and one of the residents that was learning comes in to find my son’s heart on the monitor. She couldn’t find it. Minutes passed and another nurse of 35 years came in and asked the resident if she needed help. She said yes. After minutes go by and both of them couldn’t find the heartbeat I started to sense their panic. I remember the nurse said, “That’s weird. I wonder if…”
Then she threw back the blanket that was covering me, I also just then felt something brush against my thigh very lightly. I heard a gasp from both of them. My mother and best friend stood up and I watched in horror. The nurse hit the button for code blue. My son had fallen out of me with the cord wrapped around his neck twice. I don’t know how long he had been there because they hadn’t checked me in some time and I couldn’t really feel anything since the epidural. The nurse didn’t even have time to put on gloves and immediately was yanking at the cord to get it loosened from around his neck.
My son was completely blue. He wasn’t responding or breathing. The nurse then yanked my placenta out with force, which then caused me to start bleeding to death. I remember watching a river of blood cover the bed and was flowing onto the floor. I looked up and saw my mother and best friend just holding each other, terror on both of their faces. I remember my body going cold like I stepped into a freezer. My body tingling all over, and I was seeing black dots almost like fireflies that buzzed around the room. I went into shock and I couldn’t stop saying how my son was blue. I couldn’t stop repeating myself. “My son is blue. He is blue. Why is he blue?” I was eerily calm and it was hard to think. I vaguely remember blinking hard a few times to try and wake up. I thought this was just a nightmare.
A bunch of nurses poured into my room and as they were trying their best to bring my son back, they were also weighing my blood loss. My doctor had come into the room and was upset because I didn’t tell anyone I felt the need to push. We had told them for two hours how it felt like my son was “falling out” when in fact that is just what he did. No pushing at all. They stopped my bleeding eventually. I was so tired and woozy, but I finally heard my son cry. He was alive. Purple, red, and face bruised, but he was alive and I was alive.
Another Rough Night
After things had settled down my best friend headed home and my mom was by the baby and my side all night. The nurses decided with my past issues with seizures, they would put padded bumpers around my bed making it impossible for me to get out, especially with my excruciating back pain. By then, I could barely move and my adrenaline was still going. I was freaking out. My son had swallowed fluid before falling out and so his lungs had suffocated him throughout the night multiple times. All night, nurses would rush in to clear his airways. I was worried he would have brain damage through everything he had gone through. I had issues getting out of bed to help my son and had to rely on the nurse’s button and my mom to pretty much run in the room to assist my son. I couldn’t sleep. I felt like if I closed my eyes for one second my son would die. It was a constant issue throughout the night and kept praying that my son would be okay and healthy.
They kept my son an extra day to monitor him and get his jaundice under control. It was weird watching my son turn yellow before my eyes. Even his tiny nose was yellow. I just wanted to take my son home and lay down next to him. Both my mother and my friend said that not only did they think they were witnessing the worst day of my life, they thought I was going to die too. My mom thought she was going to lose us both. If that nurse didn’t walk in when she did, the chances of my son surviving was very slim to none. She saved my son’s life and for that, I am blessed. The Lord was watching over us.
Emergency Back Surgery Just 3 Days After Delivery
After my son was checked by his pediatrician for his jaundice that Monday and he had given us the thumbs up for recovery, I gimped into the hospital to find out that I had two herniated discs and I was to have emergency surgery. I was taken by ambulance to the hospital to have surgery the very next day. My spinal doctor had informed me the damage was so bad he believes I was almost paralyzed. He was surprised that I hadn’t lost bladder and bowel control already. All through the pregnancy, I complained to my OBGYN about my back and she ignored me, even when I could no longer walk by myself.
Recovering From a Traumatic Delivery
After the surgery, I am doing much better. Although my back is sore, I still achieved my goal to go back to breastfeeding my baby and I am able to walk on my own again with no assistance. I wouldn’t wish what I have gone through on my worst enemy. I thought I carried my son to full term just for him to die in front of me. Now I just stare at his sweet little face feeling undying love. I have two healthy boys and God is so good.
Due to the complications and trauma, I have experienced, I have issues still today sleeping. My brain doesn’t want to shut off and when my son sleeps I make sure he is breathing all night, waiting for one of my family members to take watch so I can get rest. It has been a difficult few months and the delivery was especially scary. I am grateful that both of us made it, but what I went through shouldn’t happen to anyone else.
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This story was published originally on March 6, 2020.